Life at the end of the road

January 19, 2014


Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:34 pm

Sorry for the lack updates from ‘the end of the road’ of late but these long days at work fair seem to be ‘knocking it out of me’. Life is settling down to normal on the good ship Hallaig but it’s still a longer day than on the Striven. She takes a lot more starting, a lot more stopping, needs a good deal more ropes securing her to Scotland and then of course there’s the ‘gangway’ that must be raised, secured, lowered then secured to the pier so it doesn’t wander off. That, coupled with the atrocious state of Raasay’s roads, equals ‘out early and in late’ and I’ve had precious little time for dealing with the everyday stuff, let alone the blog.

Having said that I’d be loath to go back to the Striven or any of the other ‘small ferry fleet’, sure, there’s been a few glitches, hiccups and teething problems but she’s settled in nicely now and a pleasure to work on. She’s a safer, quieter, quicker, cleaner, more powerful and larger vessel than the trusty ‘Loch class’ and I for one am glad that I don’t have to leave home early to catch her. Gone now are the days when getting to Skye on the day of the calf sales meant being in the queue at 7:30 for the 7:55 ferry. No more leaving Arnish at 11:00 to catch the 12:15 on Friday or vying for a place in front of the library van or coal lorry on Wednesday. No more rearranging of traffic on the car deck as the ‘usual suspects’ turn up 30 seconds prior to sailing.

Sure the money it cost could probably have built a bridge, or even two ordinary ferries, but the money that built it wasn’t for a bridge, ordinary ferry or even the much needed infrastructure on Raasay. The funds that were found, were to construct a low emission hybrid ferry and that’s what we’ve got. Raasay has, in short got the worlds first sea going Ro Ro ferry and we should be shouting that from the roof tops to get people over here on it.

When Raasay’s economy does start to flourish that’ll mean more lorries, cars, trailers and campervans and I for one have better things to do with my life than spend it waiting for ferries. In 1989 when I moved here there was a six car ferry that ran three times a day six days a week, twenty years later a twelve car ferry doing over fifty sailings during a seven day week, at times struggled to cope. OK, I know there were plenty of empty sailings and quiet runs but Friday lunch time on Raasay, Monday morning at Sconser, or even the 16:15 on Saturday could still be risky, well, not anymore Smile

My Land Rover is exactly the same age as the trusty Loch Striven who slid down Richard Dunstan’s  slip in May 1986 around the same week as the ‘Old Girl’ rolled off the production line at Solihull. I love them both dearly but they’re noisy, cramped, smoky, uneconomical and oily, definitely not for the 21st century Smile

One fine day

Anyway, now I’ve had my rant for the day I’ll try and recall the weeks ‘doings’, well one thing for sure they were many.

I can’t say that I went back to work reluctantly, for I didn’t, but I was reluctant to leave all the work on the new house and the sixteen piglets.



Despite the atrocious weather ‘the man formally known as ‘Grump Digger Driver’ had been busy breaking rocks outside the door of my barn with his Hitachi 7t machine.


Lachie on the other hand had no heated dry cab, he was on the roof all day in the pishing rain slating


and what a job he’d done Smile 

I’m 57 now and the sanity of covering my roof in Spanish slates is questionable, a tin roof would have ‘seen me out’ and tiles would have been cheaper but aren’t they just beautiful. Sure you can can get cheaper reconstituted things that ‘look just like slate’ for half the price but I’ve yet to see a ten year old roof done in those that doesn’t look pants.

Whilst Hooky and Lachie had been busy out in the elements I was spending an increasing amount of my time in ‘the office’

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longing to just ‘bail out’ through the ‘escape window’ Smile



unlike some members of the crew.

Thursday was actually a pure ‘peach of a day’,


the sleepy village of Inverarish on Raasay soaking up the afternoon sun.


This is Goat Island on Raasay with the slopes of Ben Tianavaig in the background.

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This will be the ‘post lady’ driving on the ferry, turning around on the deck and driving off the ferry!!

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Well, you certainly couldn’t do that on the Striven!!!!


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The one good day of the week saw plenty of action at the Sconser fish farm



with Acta Marine’s ‘Coastal Hunter’ ferrying peroxide to the fish cages for ‘delousing’.



Sadly, Thursday was the only sunny and rain free day of the week but it was great to see the back of the recent spell of storms.



Ed in honey

Trying to clear out the freezer I dug deep and came across the remains of Ed from 2010

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but he wouldn’t fit in the pan



so I sorted his trotter out in the vice with a hacksaw.


To be honest there’s not much eating in a pigs trotter but they’re great fun and lovely roasted with spuds and veg. First though the trotter will need boiling for 45 minutes before scoring, covering in honey and Demerara sugar and roasting for another hour or more at 150 degrees C. 

The normal plan would be to parboil the spuds for 5 mins, drain the water, pour in olive oil, chopped rosemary, put the lid back on the pan, ‘shake it all about’, add garlic, salt and then tip it into the roasting dish with carrots, parsnips prior to roasting along with the trotter for another hour. Having to improvise I just bunged a couple of carrots in with the un parboiled spuds and a few cloves of garlic and roasted them all in the oven. It wasn’t magnificent but it was pretty good and far better than a ‘pot noodle’ Smile

Thirteen years

Always an emotional time of year


it’s our 13th anniversary


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and the fifth anniversary of the ‘great fire’ .


  1. Congratulations and best wishes on your anniversary…..your 14th year is bound to be luckier than the 13th, so you are a lucky pair indeed!

    Comment by drgeo — January 20, 2014 @ 1:39 am

    • Aye DrG, I’ve a good feeling about number fourteen 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:14 am

  2. Anniversary good wishes from all of us.

    Comment by SOTW — January 20, 2014 @ 5:14 am

    • Thanks She and see you soon XX

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:15 am

  3. Congratulations and best wishes for many more.

    Comment by mimi — January 20, 2014 @ 8:55 am

    • Cheers, Mimi.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:16 am

  4. Congratulations, come to think of it it is my 13th anniversary this year as well. Here’s to many more.

    Comment by Alistair — January 20, 2014 @ 9:16 am

    • Hope you have a ‘lucky thirteen’ too Alistair.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:16 am

  5. That’s a bonny roof, Paul – worth the money, I’d say. Thinking back to the MV Raasay – what a world apart from the Hallaig in every respect. Is the Raasay still around, so you know? I’m not sure that H&S would allow the ladder to the upper decks now.

    Happy 14th year, both of you!


    Comment by Sue — January 20, 2014 @ 9:17 am

    • The “Raasay” runs on the Tobermory to Kilchoan service I believe.

      Comment by Doug Miller — January 20, 2014 @ 10:29 am

      • there’s photos of the Raasay here

        Comment by cazinatutu — January 20, 2014 @ 10:53 am

      • That’s good to see. Better than the boat on which I did that crossing 30 or so years ago – a small motor boat that behaved badly in the waves.

        Comment by Sue — January 21, 2014 @ 10:50 am

      • Better days indeed Sue but not half as much fun 🙂 Just finished that Cabalie 2012, a fine anniversary treat thanks 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2014 @ 7:56 am

    • Thanks Sue, Aye the good folk of Raasay will take badly to getting an ‘Island Class’ back 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:17 am

  6. Happy anniversary – here’s to many more xx

    Comment by Irena Krasinska-Lobban — January 20, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

  7. Happy anniversary to you both

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — January 20, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

  8. Congratulations to you and the postmistress – may there be many more.

    Comment by Carrie — January 20, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

  9. Happy anniversary to you both and many more to come Paul. I’m in my 34th year and still enjoying like it was yesterday

    Comment by Stan — January 20, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

  10. Happy anniversary to you both.

    Comment by Marjorie Stintzi — January 20, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

  11. Mv Raasay ids only on Tobermory – Kilchoan in the winter. I wonder if this will be her last winter. Happy anniversary to you both.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — January 20, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

    • Mv Raasay is only on Tobermory – Kilchoan in the winter. I wonder if this will be her last winter

      Nah Nigel, she’s coming back up here to replace the Hallaig 🙂 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:20 am

  12. Happy anniversary to you both from Karen and I. Enjoy.

    Comment by Stan pyke — January 20, 2014 @ 7:02 pm

  13. Hi Paul and congratulations to you and your good lady. I was quite surprised to see it was five years since Raasay House burnt down as that is how long I have been reading your wonderful blog. The house looks like it’s coming on really well. Cheers

    Comment by Iain — January 21, 2014 @ 2:33 am

    • Thanks Iain (down under) wondered where you’d been hiding 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:20 am

  14. happy anniversary and best wishes to mrs. LATEOTR. I think I’ve been reading your blog too since raasay house burned down. don’t stop writing.

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — January 21, 2014 @ 5:56 am

    • Hi Jeannette and all, from all over the globe,

      thanks for the anniversary wishes and thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2014 @ 6:13 am

  15. Hi Paul,
    Great site and very interesting, I used to work on our inter island ferries up here in sunny Shetland – Daggri and Dagalien (double ended ferries) on the yell-sound run, but have since moved on to piloting in lerwick harbour. Have been reading your ‘hydro’ posts with interest as I’ve got a decent sized burn below the house which I’m sure could power the house and shed. Also a fan of the auld listers, I have several in the shed waiting their turn for restoration, mainly CS 6/1’s with a couple of old petters for company.

    Cheers for now,

    Comment by George White — January 21, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

    • Good morning George and welcome aboard ‘white over red, pilot in bed’ 🙂 I’ve spent many a happy hour amongst the klondykers in Lerwick harbour and grubbing about on the sea bed there. Is the MV Queen of hearts is there!!!

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2014 @ 7:52 am

  16. Hi
    I am an anthropology student hoping to undertake some fieldwork this summer on Raasay. I have really enjoyed reading through your blog for preliminary research.
    I was wondering if you could email me with your details as i am looking for contacts and locals to set about planning my trip. Island life has fascinated me since i was little and there are many realms of Raasay culture that I plan to research: family, migration, economics… Just trying to build up some communication at the mo. Hope to hear from you.
    Helen Clarke, London.

    Comment by hclarke2194 — January 22, 2014 @ 1:12 am

    • Good luck with that Helen, there’s plenty of scope here 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2014 @ 7:49 am

  17. Och, would you look at that pic of you two! And what a wedding it was – I’ll never forget Ewan and his pipes mixed with the decks. Love to you both, xx

    Comment by kyla — January 22, 2014 @ 10:06 am

    • Aye Kyla, what a wedding that was, with a fire eater too 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2014 @ 7:48 am

  18. I’m a bit late, workload means I haven’t strayed this way for more than a week, but all the best to both of you for your anniversary.

    Comment by Stonehead — January 24, 2014 @ 8:10 am

    • Many thanks Stoney and take it easy (aye right 🙂 )

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2014 @ 7:48 am

  19. Very many congratulations to you both.
    Wishing you the very best in your 15th and subsequent years

    Comment by chrisbbbbb — January 27, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

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